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Why Retail Data Analytics and Security Go Hand in Hand

Oct 5, 2015 12:16:08 PM

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Big data analytics has become a top priority for retailers. E-commerce, mobile and social applications have allowed retailers to collect vast amount of information on customer preferences, buying habits and more. Retailers are looking to harness the power of big data to analyze this information and extract business intelligence from it.

“Big data” is a term that describes the explosive growth and availability of structured and unstructured data being generated by computers, mobile devices and other Internet-connected systems. The key to unlocking business value from big data is data analytics. Data analytics refers to processes and techniques for collecting and analyzing raw data to draw fact-based conclusions about behavioral and purchasing trends. Organizations can then align business processes and strategies with these trends in order to increase profitability, reduce risk and deliver a better customer experience.

Traditionally, retailers have focused on generating reports from structured databases rather than data analytics. However, structured databases limit how data can be analyzed and prevent organizations from taking full advantage of the insights found in that data. An important role of big data is to integrate structured data with unstructured data from social media, mobile applications, point-of-sale systems and other sources. Big data can then be analyzed in near real time to better understand customer needs and preferences, develop more effective marketing strategies, reduce supply chain costs and improve operational efficiency.

As retailers continue to make investments in big data analytics, they must also take steps to secure customer data. Retailers have fallen victim to a number of high-profile security breaches that have eroded consumer confidence. Almost half of consumers surveyed by Lieberman Research Group said that a breach of their personal data by a retailer is likely in the next year.

Compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) serves as a baseline for protecting credit and debit card data. It’s important to recognize, however, that many of the major data breaches compromised names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, social security numbers and other personal information. Personal data is just as valuable to a hacker as payment data — in some cases, even more so.

Cyberattacks have also changed. With advanced persistent threats (APTs), hackers employ multistep campaigns across multiple attack vectors to steal high-value information. The goal of an APT is to not only infiltrate a network but stay there undetected for as long as possible. To do so the attacker must use sophisticated evasion techniques in order to elude discovery.

Many organizations remain vulnerable to APTs because of the ineffectiveness of traditional defenses. Signature-based firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, Web gateways, antivirus solutions and related tools tend to create silos of information that prevent organizations from identifying APTs. In order to combat APTs, organizations need a defense-in-depth strategy coupled with threat intelligence and effective incident response.

Pivot Technology Solutions, through its portfolio companies, can help you leverage data analytics to obtain actionable insights into customer behavior. We can also help you deploy sophisticated security tools that speed the detection and prevention of today’s security threats. It’s a powerful combination for today’s retail environment.

Topics: Blog

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